The city is off to a strong start in sales tax receipts with January up 3.53 percent from the previous year.
The first month of the year brought in $1.52 million in sales tax revenue, compared to the $1.47 million brought in January 2003.
One of the reasons for the increase, City Finance Director Don Taylor said, was the rise in utility costs.
"A big part of the increase came from sales tax on utilities because of higher prices for natural gas and maybe an overall colder winter," Taylor said.
Although one of the lowest grossing categories for the city, utilities had a 16 percent increase in sales tax, bringing in a total of $159,000.
Lodging was the category that saw the largest decrease, but sales tax for restaurants increased by 6 percent and liquor stores and sporting goods stores saw sales tax increase by more than 7 percent.
The accommodation tax had a 2.9 percent decrease in January from the year before, bringing in just $96,000.
Taylor said despite the decrease in the lodging tax, he believed January had the same number of people if not slightly more than the year before. He said the lodging number decrease might be contributed to more competitive pricing in January.
The city also enjoyed strong sales tax revenue in December, which had a 6 percent increase from the year before and pushed the 2003 year-to-date numbers ahead of 2002. December brought in more than $1.8 million.
January is typically the fourth highest month in sales tax revenue after March, December and February.
The building use tax decreased by 88.6 percent in January from January 2003. The month brought in just $798 in revenue. January is a rather insignificant month for building use tax collections, Taylor said.